Avnet brings German IoT platform vendor relayr to North American channel

relayr offers both an edge connectivity platform and vertically-focused services packages that Avnet thinks will be of interest to both deeply-focused IoT players as well as resellers who have been working in adjacent practice areas.


Colin Blair, vice president of data analytics and IOT solutions, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas

Avnet has announced an agreement with Berlin-based relayr, which will make its Internet of Things-focused enterprise middleware platform available through distribution for the first time in the U.S. and Canada. The agreement will also see relayr starter kits for specific verticals made available to partners, as well as additional kits developed by Avnet.

“relayr is all about edge gateway connectivity,” said Colin Blair, vice president of data analytics and IOT solutions, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas. “Their platform speaks with different devices at the edge, even with different protocols, then moves up to the parsing of the data and device management. With the high multiples in IoT, the number of devices connected is often massive. relayr’s software does this. It then moves into the cloud from there with traditional BI analytics and prescriptive analytics.”

Blair said that relayr brings some distinct elements to the IoT table.

“This is very unique. This relationship with relayr is the last piece of the puzzle to address every aspect of IoT, with prepackaged vertical solutions for different use cases. It’s a little bit of everything in terms of what’s being pursued. The opportunities extend into the industrial world with smart utilities and smart buildings, as well as retail, oil and gas, transportation and agriculture. It also opens up opportunities to talk to people who aren’t IT oriented.”

Relayr is also different compared to other IoT platforms.

“Most IoT platforms focus on the operations technology side – industrial machines and devices – and are not quite as mindful of data lifecycle management,” Blair stated. “relayr has recognized that data is the new oil.”

A services component is a critical aspect of the offering.

“In the past, IoT adoption has been stalled by lack of awareness, and at Avnet we addressed that with IoT hackathons and IoT starter kits. There is demand now though, and the only thing holding it back is the ability to offer innovation-as-a-service. Together with relayr, we will offer that.”

relayr has branded this service its 5-4-3 Accelerate offering.

“It starts with 5 days of consultation, sitting down and going through what can be monetized and what cannot in an IoT deployment,” Blair indicated. “That’s followed by 4 weeks of rapid prototyping and design, and then 3 months of implementation.”

Avnet also intends to use relayr’s toolkits to complement its own, and to develop further such kits.

“In addition to our present Avnet IoT starter kits, relayr has IoT starter kits focused around specific vendors IoT gateway vendors and edge devices and sensors, where the vendors’ IoT gateways are combined with preconfigured relayr software for particular vertical solutions. We will broaden those IoT starter kits down to particular vertical gateways for the edge.”

Relayr has sold their offerings in North America before, but not through distribution.

“They have been partnered with many of the SIs,” Blair said. “It gives credence to the fact that not even the largest companies can implement an IOT solution holistically, as they used this consultative IoT platform that understands use cases. relayr also has been partnered with the key OEMs, strategically choosing new partnerships as they expand their business. In North America, these are mainly Cisco and Dell. As a result of those partnerships, they have built up a respectable customer install base here. We will be working with them to scale that.”

Blair indicated that among Avnet partners, relayr will be of interest to both focused IoT specialists as well as to partners in adjacent areas like networking and security who are new in the space, or not even in the space yet.

“We have partners experienced in this space who will design this into solutions in a ‘design once, use many times,’ approach,” he said. “We also have others who are focused on adjacent areas like analytics, who know that area very well, and this is a natural move for them. What we are finding is that the proliferation of devices is now opening up a middle area in the IoT platform, and partners need the capability to deliver infrastructure solutions on-prem and off. The only way you could have done this a year ago is create your own platform, which was very difficult, and basically limited to some SIs. This allows networking and security and analytics resellers to pivot, with support from us, to provide that kind of solution.”

The relayr solution is available from Avnet now. Avnet will be also be hosting a series of roadshows related to IOT, Cisco and relayr, and details on this can be accessed at the Avnet IOT Roadshow webpage.